"What has God taught you this year?"
For me I think a better question to ask would be, "What hasn't God taught me this year?" Now I by no means say this out of "God taught me so much, I know so much" (because the more you know, the more you know you don't know), but I say this for the purpose of showing the power of God and his ability to transform human hearts.
This year has been the most transformative year of my entire life and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I look to the future seeing that we only have 4 short weeks left: 4 short weeks to take advantage of every second I have left in this environment and community. I also look to the past not to dwell on it, but to see where God has brought me from the beginning. From the beginning of the year it was clear to see the way God was shaping and molding me. I saw that my heart was drawing nearer to Him as each day went on. I was falling more deeply in love with God, but for some reason the feeling part of my faith slowly started to drift away. When I was in Ireland for our international trips, it seemed as if my heart was slowly drifting away from God. I became so confused. Why was my heart drifting away from the Lord even though I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing the whole year? I’m still reading my Bible trying to seek after God, I’m still praying out of a want to grow closer to Him, and I’m still wanting to learn about who He is. My heart continued to drift away even when I got back to Link Year. I didn’t want my heart to drift away by any means, but it just kind of happened. It wasn’t until yesterday that I was able to see the reason why my heart kept drifting away. I had been asked the question, “Are you seeking God for who he is, or are you using Him to transform you into the Christian you want to become?”
If you know me well, you would know that I am naturally performance-driven: that I in my flesh find my worth in what I accomplish. I’ve heard countless amounts of times, “You’re not the one who changes your own heart, God is.” I believed in that truthful saying, but I viewed it in a skewed way. I focused more on the end result of my heart changing than simply abiding in the Lord. So to answer the question: yes, I was only seeking God in order for him to transform me into the Christian I wanted to become. I thought I had gotten rid of the performance-driven lifestyle enough to be able to pursue God so that he can change me. If you look at that statement you see the phrase: “... I had gotten rid of…” I can do nothing to strengthen my relationship with God. I can’t read my Bible enough, I can’t pray enough, I can’t learn enough. God doesn’t want my actions, He wants my heart. My heart was created to belong to God. This I can do: I can believe and say, “God I give up trying, here is my heart.” Simply that. There is no giving up my heart so that God can change me into the Christian I want to be; I give up my heart because I know I will find true love, joy, and satisfaction in the one who created my heart. And yes, God will still change my heart, but now I’m able to see that having my heart changed to become the Christian I want to be is no longer my motive for seeking Him. That’s what God has taught me this year.
Psalm 16:2 “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’”
2 Corinthians 3:4-5 “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”